Politician Quits Race After Interview Gaffes

Politician Quits Race After Interview Gaffes

An Australian political candidate has quit after making a series of gaffes in a TV interview - including referring to Islam as "a country" and mistakenly calling the Koran "haram".

Stephanie Banister stepped down as candidate for the anti-immigration One Nation party after facing ridicule on social media and in the press.

The 27-year-old was running for the seat of Rankin, Queensland, but party leader Jim Savage said she decided to withdraw after "threats" amid the fallout from her blundering interview with Australia's Channel Seven.

During the interview, which Mr Savage says was misrepresentative, Ms Banister was asked about a new national disability insurance scheme.

She said it was "working at the moment", despite it not actually starting until 2016.

Ms Banister also made confused statements in the broadcast about Judaism, voicing her support for kosher foods for Jewish people.

"Jews aren't under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ," she said of Judaism, which in fact sees Jesus as an ordinary man and not the messiah.

Mr Savage said: "She continues to have the full support of the One Nation executive, and contrary to reports on the media last night and in the newspapers today, Stephanie has not been disendorsed and will not be disendorsed.

"However, due to the threats against Stephanie's family, herself, her children, the abuse she's copped and the enormous pressure she's been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin.

"We have accepted it with regret."

Ms Banister had only been in politics for 48 hours at the time of the interview and made a short statement alongside Mr Savage on Saturday, but she was not allowed to answer any questions.

"With the way Channel Seven edited my interview, I was left quite the fool," Ms Banister said.

"I'd like to apologise to One Nation, to my friends and family, for any embarrassment this has brought to them."

Mr Savage said it was his responsibility such a novice candidate had been allowed to conduct an interview without appropriate preparation but also claimed Channel Seven had unfairly targeted Ms Banister.

Ms Banister, who is facing criminal charges after allegedly placing anti-Muslim stickers such as "halal food funds terrorism" on supermarket products, said her words had been taken out of context.

She has been labelled "Australia's Sarah Palin", in a reference to TV interview gaffes made by the US vice-presidential candidate in 2008.